Monthly Archives: October 2009

Catholics Encouraged To Join Environmental Advocacy network

Monday 26 October 2009 

CJPC Climate Action 2009

CJPC Climate Action 2009

 Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission staged a public promotion for action on climate change in the centre of Brisbane as part of an International Day of Climate Action last Saturday 24 October.

Commission members and supporters held up a banner bearing the number ‘350” in Reddacliff Place in the heart of Brisbane and distributed information sheets on the importance of reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

The number on the Commission’s banner refers to the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide which scientists say is necessary to prevent serious environmental consequences.

The Commission’s Executive officer, Peter Arndt, said that world leaders must take action to reduce the current carbon dioxide level of 389 parts per million to the safe level of 350 parts per million proposed by climate scientists. “

We are already seeing dramatic changes caused by global warming and the whole world must take decisive action to stop even more dramatic damage and change in the next few decades,” Mr Arndt said.

“We have joined with millions of other people around the world today to tell our leaders that they must agree to action which will bring about a rapid reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide into the air,” he said.

“When leaders gather in Copenhagen this December, we want them to be clearly focussed on taking action which protects the lands and homes of low-lying countries and which limits the environmental degradation and change which future generations will face,” he said.

The Commission also used the event as an opportunity to invite Catholics in the Brisbane Archdiocese to join a network committed to action and advocacy on important environmental issues such as climate change.

Mr Arndt said that the Commission wanted to support Catholics who were already active in environmental advocacy and to connect them with other Catholics who wanted to do something to promote a sustainable future for the world.

“There are many Catholics who already believe that our faith requires us to do what we can to protect the Earth and its resources,” Mr Arndt said.

“We would like to see how we can support what is already happening on the ground and develop new initiatives in which Catholics can participate,” he said.

Catholics interested in joining the Commission’s environmental advocacy network are asked to contact the Commission by e-mail at arndtp@bne.catholic.net.au, by phoning (07) 3336 9173 or by writing to the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, GPO Box 282, Brisbane Q 4001.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Asylum Seekers’ Plight Demands Action on Human Rights of Tamil Detainees

Monday 19 October 2009

Freedom for Detainees in Sri Lanka

Freedom for Detainees in Sri Lanka

In the wake of the current controversy over the treatment of Sri Lankan asylum seekers, Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has called on the Prime Minister to take action to end the detention of Tamil civilians in camps run by the military in Sri Lanka.

The Commission’s Executive officer, Peter Arndt, said that the silence and inaction of the Prime Minister on the plight of Tamils in camps in the north and east of Sri Lanka was unacceptable.

“Attempts by our Government to outsource the processing of the refugee claims of Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Indonesia heaps further suffering and inhumanity on those who are already suffering greatly because of the actions of the Sri Lankan Government,” Mr Arndt said.

“Why is Mr Rudd so blistering in his attacks on people smugglers while he remains silent about the appalling conditions faced by hundreds of thousands of Tamils locked up in camps in Sri Lanka?” he said.

“Why is Mr Rudd so keen to stop Sri Lankan asylum seekers from finding refuge from the horrors they have faced at home, yet  is so reluctant to take action to challenge the legality of Sri Lanka’s detention of its own citizens?” he said.

“Representatives of the United Nations and many reputable international organisations such as Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists have spoken out repeatedly about the outrageous conditions and human rights abuses in the Sri lankan detention camps, but Mr Rudd’s Government says nothing but that he will stop Sri Lankans and other asylum seekers from getting to our shores,” he said.

“Other Governments such as Great Britain, France and Sweden are sending senior Ministers to Sri Lanka and preparing to impose sanctions on that country, but all Mr Rudd’s Government is doing is trying to keep suffering Sri Lankans out of Australia,” he said.

Mr Arndt said that the Federal Government should be responding to the plight of asylum seekers with great compassion.

“We should be prepared to accept more refugees from Sri Lanka and should also be part of a much broader international push to find safe homes quickly for the world’s forty million refugees,” Mr Arndt said.

“Mr Rudd promised to be more active in promoting human rights internationally,” he said.

“Why isn’t he urging the British Commonwealth to take strong action against Sri Lanka for its human rights abuses as the Commonwealth did in relation to the coup in Fiji?” he said.

“As Christians, we seek to stand with the Tamil asylum seekers and detainees because Jesus told us that we must respond compassionately to the needs of the hungry, the sick, the stranger who comes to our door and those who are held in prison,” he said.

“We urge Catholics to support those seeking asylum and those in camps in Sri Lanka by continuing to tell their local MPs and Senators that the Government must act to end the suffering of Tamils in Sri Lanka,” he said.

“We must have strong action to address the root cause of this dreadful situation, the Sri Lankan Government’s unacceptable treatment of Tamils,” he said.

Sri Lanka Petition Handed Over

Prayer and Presentation of Tamil Petition October 8 2009

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.
NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Sri Lanka Petition Handed Over

Media Release

Friday 9 October 2009

Sri Lanka Petition Handover October 8 2009

Sri Lanka Petition Handover October 8 2009


A petition calling on the Federal Government to pressure the Sri Lankan Government to release Tamil civilians detained in camps in the north of the country was handed over to Queensland Senator Claire Moore on Thursday evening during a prayer service.

The petition was organised by Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission and attracted over 2400 signatures.

Over 50 people, including a number of Tamils living in Brisbane, attended the service which was held at St Oliver Plunkett Catholic Church at Cannon Hill.

The Chair of the Commission, Mr Rick Sheehan, presented the petition to Senator Moore who said that the petition would be lodged in the Senate at its next sitting at the end of October.

Mr Sheehan said that, despite claims to the contrary by the Sri Lankan Government, conditions for those detained in the camps were still very por.

Senator Moore said that it was clear that the human rights of people detained in the camps were not being respected.

“I cannot promise you that we will be able to change the situation in Sri Lanka,” Senator Moore said.

“However, if our Government is to continue to act on this dreadful situation, it is vital that people continue to let their local Members of Parliament and Senators know that they are concerned,” she said.

The Commission’s Executive officer, Peter Arndt, said that United Nations officials continue to express grave concerns about conditions in the camps.

“With the onset of the monsoon season, things are likely to get even worse,” Mr Arndt said.

“These people should be released quickly and we hope that Catholics will continue to pray for them and to also tell their MPs that things must change in Sri Lanka,” he said.

The Commission is committed to continuing action on the issue until Tamil detainees are released and a genuine reconciliation process is in place.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.
NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Continuing Action on Poverty Essential

09_07_06_apw_web_buttonMonday 5 October 2009

Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has called for Catholics to continue their involvement in efforts to address poverty locally and globally.

The call was made in the lead-up to Anti-Poverty Week, 11 – 17 October.

The Commission’s Executive officer, peter Arndt, said that the global financial and economic crises which developed over the course of the last year have hurt the poorest and most vulnerable people around the world worst.

“Poor people around the world have little influence with governments and we in the Church must stand with them so that their concerns are heard and addressed,” Mr Arndt said.

Anti-Poverty Week is an excellent opportunity for us to do something to raise awareness about poverty here in Australia and in the poorest countries in the world,” he said.

“Last year’s Social Justice Sunday Statement focussed on poverty in Australia and called on Catholics to get involved in action to address it,” he said.

“And this year’s Social Justice Sunday Statement also reminds us of both the poverty of Indigenous Australians and of global poverty,’ he said.

“Australia’s Bishops urge us to make a difference in the world for the sake of future generations,” he said.

“They encourage us to see the causes and the consequences of injustices like poverty, to make judgements about how the Gospel calls us to understand these problems and to act to address them,” he said.

“There are many ways in which we can get involved in challenging the scourge of poverty,” he said.

“Getting involved in the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, Caritas Australia’s Be More Program, Micah Challenge, the Make Poverty History Campaign or the Make Indigenous Poverty History Campaign are all excellent opportunities for us to stand with those who face the indignities associated with poverty,” he said.

Ideas for action, information sheets and links to poverty campaigns and organisations working to address poverty may be found at the Anti-poverty Week web site at http://www.antipovertyweek.org.au/

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Prayer and Presentation of Tamil Petition October 8 2009

CJPC Logo

CJPC Logo

Support for Tamils
Hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians are still detained in camps in Sri Lanka almost 5 months after the bloody conflict between the Sri Lankan military and the Tamil Tigers. The United Nations has repeatedly expressed concerns about the camp conditions and the arrival of the monsoon season is likely to make those conditions much worse.The Brisbane Catholic Justice and Peace  Commission will hold a special service to pray for those still detained in the camps and for justice and peace in Sri Lanka.

During the service, the petitions calling for Australian Government action on the Sri Lankan situation will be handed over to Senator Claire Moore for lodgement in the Senate at its next sitting.

The service will be held this Thursday 8 October at 6.30 pm. At St Oliver Plunkett Church, 21 Beauvardia Street, Cannon Hill. All are welcome.